My plans for a subsidised, grant-aided,
energy factory gym of the future.
“I am absolutely sure generating electricity by treadmills would create even more jobs per megawatt than solar. I hope no one will push such a policy in Europe though.”
Well – Ding! I had a Eureka moment. I will open a revolutionary new health complex that will solve so many of the UK’s problems that the politico’s are going to love the concept and will throw funding at me. Best of all this will qualify for all sorts of subsidies and payments. Oh and I nearly forgot, people will be paying me to use it. How can I possibly lose?
You see I think I’ve found a way to contribute to alleviation of the UK energy crisis, increase the nation’s health, fitness and overall wellbeing, and even contribute to reducing unemployment, since I will work with local schemes for the unemployed to pay the jobless to get fit while
working working out in my new energy factory gym. Local health service schemes could also pay people boost my their energy production energy levels and increase their fitness, easing the future burden on the poor old NHS.
My bit of research (Wikipedia on Human-powered transport) suggests that humans are good for 200-300 Watts/h when cycling. “In lab experiments an average “in-shape” cyclist can produce about 3 watts/kg for more than an hour (e.g., around 200 watts for a 70 kg rider), with top amateurs producing 5 watts/kg and elite athletes achieving 6 watts/kg for similar lengths of time.” OK, That’s a good place to start.
Good grief I can even get funding to help develop the equipment: Notions of Expenditure “Request for speculative proposals to re-design exercise equipment to generate and store energy; and/or to retrofit gyms to function as local power sources linked to the grid.” This just gets better and better.
Phase 1. The excercise Bike and Treadmill Power Plant
I know you can easily couple a bicycle to a generator (more than a dynamo for lights) because I saw a demonstration of it at a WWF propaganda stand at some local ‘family day out’ fair thing. Yup, here’s one – pedalpowergenerator.com. OK that suggests a belt drive bike generator is available for up to 300Watts (installed capacity).
Treadmills seem a little more problematic, but wait – World’s First Electricity Generating Gyms in Portland, Oregon, and also in Hong Kong… Oh it has been done before. Fine, nothing like being ‘first to be second’ (or third). Just shows it can work. Wow – they sell equipment “PlugOut – Think in watts, not calories” I like it. They even do cross trainers.
Now, not only will I be able to offset my electricity bills, but I’m sure close scrutiny of the UK Renewable Obligation/Feed-in-Tarriff system will enable me to claim huge payments for the energy I am able to export to the grid. A quick look at the wind generator payments suggest that not only will I save ~11p/kWh but I might also be able to get an income under the Feed-in-Tariff system of up to 26.7p/kWh. And this income would be guaranteed until 2027. I wonder if the equipment qualifies for a grant too.
Phase 2. The Swimming Current Turbine
Current pools where you have to swim in one direction around a ‘river’ are great fun. And there are plenty of tidal turbines under development. Why not combine them? Perhaps a set of small paddle wheels suitable for a small stream. That’s probably ‘industrial revolution’ era technology. Quite do-able.
Now I did think heating the pool might be costly, so I’m going to install an air-source heat pump in the gym so that all the kW of heat generated as a side-effect of exercise can be captured and used to heat the pool. This means I can apply under the Renewable Heat Incentive for further income.
Phase 3. The Ultimate Biofuel
I have two more cracking ideas as add-ons that will further expand my renewable empire. (You might not want to read this next bit if you are of a sensitive disposition.)
Any good leisure facility needs to offer food, so I plan to lease out some space to a gourmet restaurant and a fast food restaurant. I believe that people who are foodaholics but less inclined to exercise will still want to contribute to the nation’s energy needs and I will enable them to do so while feeding their food indulgence. To that end I will also lease out space to a medical beauty clinic providing subsidised liposuction, a small rendering facility and biodiesel factory (I’ll not elaborate but I’m sure you realise the connection). Following pioneering medical research (that my now cash-rich empire will fund) I will enable regular and safe ‘lipo-donation’, paving the way for efficient biofuel conversion (and thus ending the ‘food vs fuel’ debate as it will become ‘food-for-fuel’ in my
Now that I have all my ideas sorted I’m off to work out how much equipment I need, calculate how much energy I can export to the grid, and to develop my business plan. Perhaps I could pitch it to Dragon Duncan Bannatyne for investment and business mentoring ;-)